Trump does Not Attend White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Trump does Not Attend White House Correspondents Dinner

Mekayla Phan, Features Editor

On Saturday, Donald Trump became the first president in 36 years to have not attended the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner.

The White House Correspondents’ dinner (WHCD) is an esteemed event where journalists, celebrities, athletes, and the White House administration gather together to celebrate the first amendment – freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It is one of the most extravagant nights in Washington with a bunch of glitz and glam from famous stars. However, 2017’s dinner was different. The focus was all on the journalists.

This year Donald Trump is one of the first presidents to have skipped the event. The last and only president to have also done so was Ronald Reagan who was recovering from a gunshot wound in 1981. It is not a secret that Donald Trump has been butting heads with the press. He has often called the media ‘fake news’ and ‘the enemy of the people’. When the dinner was announced in January, Trump tweeted: “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”

While  Daily Show correspondent and comedian Hasan Minhaj hinted at the dinner that Trump didn’t come because he couldn’t take a joke,  Trump told his Pennsylvania supporters that he “couldn’t possibly be more thrilled” to be away from the”very boring” dinner.

Minhaj opened the dinner with lots of comedic jabs at the president and the administration for not attending. However, he still recognized what the WHCD is all about: the constitutional right to freedom of speech. He acknowledges how important the press really is and gives them a piece of advice: “In the age of Trump, I know that you guys have to be more perfect than ever. Because you are how the president gets his news […] You can’t make any mistakes, because when one of you messes up, he blames your entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority.”

Famous veteran journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who uncovered Nixon’s Watergate scandal, attended the dinner also giving inspiring words. Woodward addressed to the president that the media was not fake news, and that “Whatever the climate, whether the media is revered or reviled, we should and must persist – and I believe we will.”

On the other side of the night, TBS’s Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee hosted an alternative  WHCD, “”Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” as a tribute to journalism.  With Will Ferrell impersonating George W. Bush and other Donald Trump skits, it was far from the traditional dinner party with a show – actually not really a dinner at all. However, with all the savage jokes and jabs aside,  Bee donated $200,000 of the evening earnings  to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Source: BBC News